A Moat of Native Flowers Honors the Queen's Platinum Jubilee

The Tower of London's moat will become a sea of flowers in honor of the Queen of England's 70-year reign.

A cheery bouquet of flowers always helps to mark a special occasion such as a birthday or anniversary. When you're the Queen of England celebrating a Platinum Jubilee for your historic 70-year reign, that bouquet becomes a moat-full of blossoms. As a tribute to the longest-serving monarch in British history, an informal field of pollinator plants will create a Superbloom in the nearly 4-acre dry moat surrounding the Tower of London this summer. Visitors will be able to stroll through the colorful flowers from June to September. The Superbloom garden is one of several spectacles planned for the Jubilee celebrations, which will take place all year.

Person in field of flowers outside the Tower of London for Superbloom event in the UK
Courtesy of the Historic Royal Palaces

Platinum Jubilee of Her Majesty The Queen

Queen Elizabeth II is not only the longest-reigning British monarch, but also the longest-serving female head of state in the world. She succeeded to the throne upon the death of her father, King George VI, on February 6, 1952. Only 25 at the time, The Queen is now 95. For some American context, Queen Elizabeth II's reign has overlapped with 14 U.S. Presidents, from Harry Truman to Joe Biden. She has already celebrated three major Jubilees: Silver in 1977; Gold in 2002; and Diamond in 2012.

London, UK. 11th November, 2014. Crowds gather on Armistice Day to see the final poppy planted at the Tower of London,
In Pictures Ltd./Corbis via Getty Images

The Superbloom at the Tower of London

Through the centuries, the Tower of London moat served as an aquatic barrier until about 1890 when the moat was filled in. It then was used for a variety of purposes, such as a military training ground and pasture for livestock. In 2014 on the centenary of the beginning of World War I, a somber installation of over 800,000 red ceramic poppies (one poppy for each of the British war dead) filled the Tower's moat. This summer, poppies will return to the moat, but this time they will be living flowers and part of the 2022 Superbloom.

The exact flowers for Superbloom are still a secret, but in addition to red poppies, it will include native plants and cottage garden favorites in a rainbow of colors. Look for blue cornflowers, white baby's breath, pink cosmos, blue love-in-a-mist, and lavender catchfly. Sound installations and sculptures will accent this new, permanent ecosystem. Visitors to London can reserve tickets now for a walk through the Superbloom moat garden from June 1 through September 18.

bee on poppy for the Superbloom outside the tower of London
Courtesy of the Historic Royal Palaces

Plant a Superbloom at Home

Smaller versions of the Superbloom garden at the Tower of London will be welcoming pollinators and celebrating the Platinum Jubilee all around the United Kingdom, too. British school gardens and community groups will be given packets of the same seed mix to plant. If your family or organization has a milestone birthday or anniversary to mark this year, why not plant your own pollinator garden in a raised bed or sunny area of your yard? Try a regional seed mix of native wildflowers and create your own neighborhood Superbloom.

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